How to make up for it?
“And every Tuesday afternoon they met at the same place for coffee. As friends. She was secretly madly in love with him but didn’t dare tell him, lest her admission make her an object of ire. To her, he was a god. On this particular Tuesday he showed up with an old camera. ‘Got it at that estate sale. I’ve been walking around taking pictures all day. Just for fun.’ He was many things, but a photographer he was not. ‘May I?’ He asked. She hated having her picture taken and he knew it. ‘Don’t smile’, he told her. ‘The light is perfect on you right now.’ Like he knew what that meant. And with that, she smiled.
He arrived at their visit the following week bearing an envelope. ‘Here.’ He said, handing it to her. It was his pictures. She thumbed through them. Unremarkable landscapes, blurry shots of people crossing Fifth Avenue. And then, her heart sank. A photo of a beautiful young woman she did not know. Clearly, the woman he was in love with. She was barely able to conceal her disappointment. Choking back tears she managed to ask, ‘Who is the girl? She’s very pretty.’ He stared at her for a moment, and then he laughed. ‘You’re joking, right? That’s you, goofball.’ Her tears fell silently. She stared at him, incredulous. She couldn’t speak. ‘Hey,” he said, as he slowly reached out and grasped her hand. She did not recognize herself in the picture – seeing herself for the first time through his eyes. She understood immediately. Now all she could think about was their well-spent wasted time. All these months. The needless politesse and doubt thanks to stupid, stupid fear. How to make up for it?”